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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DataQuick: Southland Home Sales Flat, Record Investor Buying

by Calculated Risk on 2/15/2012 09:36:00 PM

This report is only for Southern California, but it contains useful information for analyzing the housing market. Plenty of "records" in January: Record investor buying, record percentage of short sales, and record low new home sales. Note: DataQuick reports new home sales at closing and the Census Bureau reports when contracts are signed - so this is for contracts signed about six months ago.

From DataQuick: Southland Home Sales Flat, Prices Edge Down

A total of 14,523 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was down 24.5 percent from 19,247 in December, and up 0.4 percent from 14,458 in January 2011, according to DataQuick of San Diego.

Sales have increased year-over-year for five of the last six months. The sharp sales decline from December is normal for the season.

Last month’s sales count was 17.8 percent below the 17,671 average for all the months of January since 1988.

A total of 669 newly built homes sold in January, the lowest number for any month since DataQuick started keeping track in 1988.

“January numbers have never been very good at providing an indication of what upcoming activity will be like. For that we need to wait until March. What we can determine is that the mortgage market remains dysfunctional. It will be interesting to see how a potential surge of refinance activity plays into the purchase market once the administration’s new guidelines are implemented,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.
Distressed sales made up more than half of January’s resale market. ... Foreclosure resales ... made up 32.6 percent of resales last month ... Short sales ... made up an estimated 21.3 percent of Southland resales last month. That was a high for the current real estate cycle and compares with 19.6 percent in both December and January 2011.
Absentee buyers – mostly investors and some second-home purchasers – bought a record 26.8 percent of the Southland homes sold in January, paying a median $193,500. The Inland Empire saw absentee purchases rise to a record 33.6 percent of all sales.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) will report January existing home sales next Wednesday, February 22nd.